Real estate developer American Campus Communities rapidly expands in West Campus

Christina Breitbeil

Major real estate developer American Campus Communities has dominated management of several West Campus apartment complexes and will be likely expanding in the future, realtors say.

With the establishment of The Callaway House this summer in West Campus, American Campus Communities, which manages and owns the new property, pursued and gained ownership over The Castilian, 26 West, The Block, The Penthouse at Callaway and The Texan as well as Vintage West Campus. 

Joe Yager, real estate agent for Uptown Realty LLC and founder of Active Property Management & MR+D, said that the expansion of American Campus Communities should be something for potential buyers to look out for in West Campus.

“I think their overall play is to acquire more assets,” Yager said. “Although, I am not sure of any specific properties they are currently targeting in the West Campus market.”

According to Yager, there is a significant aspect of danger in the prospect of American Campus Communities acquiring so many properties in such a condensed area of real estate.

“I think they want to dominate the market, if you will,” Yager said. “This would allow them to control the prices of real estate.”

Bill Bayless, CEO of American Campus Communities, said in the fall 2013 leasing update that despite adding so many properties and taking ownership of two additional portfolios, the company still has room for improvement in the upcoming 2014-15 year.

“We are generally pleased with the overall 2013 leasing progress on the heels of integrating $2.2 billion in assets into our portfolio,” Bayless said. “Our leasing results put us near the mid-point of our FFOM guidance range of $2.20 to $2.26 per share and offer opportunity for improvement in the 2014–2015 academic year.”

Gina Cowart, vice president of marketing and investor relations at American Campus Communities, said that as of right now, expansion is not the company’s focus.

“We have no immediate plans to expand our footprint in West Campus, but we are focused on delivering the best living experience to our current residents,” Cowart said. “We are so thrilled to have a presence in our hometown and be actively engaged in the community.”

Although American Campus Communities may decide to hold off on expansion because of their current large number of assets, the large portion of apartment complexes under their ownership in West Campus already gives the company some control over prices in the neighborhood, said Richie Gill, real estate broker and principal of Longhorn Central Realty.

“The properties owned by American Campus Communities are Class A properties, which means that they get leased very easily giving the company current pricing control,” Gill said. “West Campus has a high barrier to breach with new properties, so ACC’s ownership cuts out the little guys.”